RVOD091 Three Magic Words

(1940s-ish, Short/Educational/Musical/Industrial, b&w)


Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Here's three magic words: “Stop Singing That.”

Rating: ****

In a Nutshell:

A close-harmony trio teaches a young wife the virtues of pork.


Pork, pork and pork.Spoiler warning! The three magic words in question are Quality, Freshness and Flavor. Now you know. And knowing is, well, you know the rest.

The purveyors of these magical, pork-describing words are a close-harmony trio known as the Jesters. They play the butchers at the shop where the descriptively named Mrs. Newlywed arrives in a panic. Her oblivious husband has boasted of her cooking prowess to three of his work buddies, and now there’s a bet going as to whether her real-life kitchen skills can live up to the hyperbole.

They can’t. The poor, vacant little trophy wife has never heard of Iowa and doesn’t know what pigs are, let alone how to prepare how the meat that comes from them. The Jesters burst into song. Quality, Freshness and Flavor are the answers, of course! Nodding uncertainly, Mrs. Newlywed stumbles home to find the Jesters in her kitchen, now dressed as chefs. They harmonize their way through the recipe until the viciously grinning Mr. Newlywed arrives with his three friends in tow. Yes, they’re the Jesters again, harmonizing away as usual. They dig in while praising her culinary skill in song.


Man, it’s a good thing the Jesters showed up to save Mrs. Newlywed from embarrassing herself in front of... of... of the Jesters, I guess. The same guys who set the whole thing up by goading the rictus-faced Mr. Newlywed into making the bet in the first place. So, the whole thing was a con? A nonsensical conspiracy to push the other white meat on the recently married? A cyclical, self-contained paradox caused by a trio of time-traveling restaurant singers determined to get a free meal?

Speaking of paradoxes, Three Magic Words is something of an anomaly in that it’s the only formerly live short thus far to benefit from not being live. It might have been audience reaction muddying the precise timing required to riff a musical short, or it might have been something else altogether, but the studio version’s jokes seem clearer, more easy-to-follow and—despite the fact that they’re the same jokes—much, much funnier. A few of my favorite comments: When the Jesters sing of pork that “makes your heart sing,” Kevin looks at the fat-heavy dish on display and declares that it only “makes my heart explode.” When the Jesters specify roasting temperature as 328 degrees, Mike clarifies, “The temperatures at which stupid burns.” When the three sets of Jesters—butcher, chef and work buddies—pass the song around for the finale, Bill says, “Our hollow-eyed doppelgangers will fill you all on the rest.” Also amusing are the various other suggestions for the three magic words, such as “Stop Singing That,” “More Bacon Please,” and “No, Stop, Don’t.” The Rifftrax Live Christmas broadcast featured Weird Al riffing alongside them, but he’s not featured here. I missed hearing his voice, but everything else about the studio version is vastly improved.